Sat, Aug 31, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Twu Shiing-jer takes over the health department's top job, but not the title

STANDING IN The deputy director-general, who has had that job for only two months, will take over from Lee Ming-liang, who is leaving because of his health

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Yu Shyi-kun, right, shakes the hand of outgoing Department of Health Director-General Lee Ming-liang at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

PHOTO: CHU YU-PIN, TAIPEI TIMES

Department of Health Deputy Director-General Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) will take over leadership of the department following the resignation of Director-General Lee Ming-liang (李明亮).

Addressing a medal presentation ceremony at the Executive Yuan yesterday afternoon, Yu announced that Twu will become the acting director-general on Sunday and that he was not looking for anyone else to take the position permanently.

"He'll be performing the task of the director but without the title," Yu said.

"As Twu will be acting director for a period of time, I'm not looking for any potential candidates for the time being," Yu said.

Twu, who served as the director of the Bureau of Health when Chen Shu-bian (陳水扁) was Taipei City mayor, succeeded Huang Fu-yuan (黃富源) as deputy director-general two months ago.

Yu would not explain why Twu was not being given the title director-general, but said he had looked at other candidates for the position.

"Although I've asked several candidates about the job, some hesitated to leave their current jobs, some lacked political experience and others feel uncomfortable answering to the Legislative Yuan," Yu said.

Lee, who has been suffering from asthma and high blood pressure, received a medal for his outstanding performance as the department's director-general over the seven months since Yu took office in February. Lee has held the position since Chen won the presidential election in 2000.

Yu praised Lee for his guts in pushing for reform, especially in raising the insurance premiums for the national health insurance scheme, which has drawn criticism from the opposition parties and labor groups.

"When it comes to reforms, he doesn't hesitate and totally forgets about his physical problems," Yu said. "The new insurance scheme -- the largest-scale reform of its kind since the launch of the program eight years ago -- wouldn't have been completed without his guts and determination."

In addition to thanking Yu and his co-workers for their support and cooperation, Lee said that he would continue to contribute to society if the government called upon him again.

"Although I'll soon leave my post, I'll continue to make personal contributions as a civilian for the betterment of the country," Lee said.

Lee, who is on leave from the Buddhist Tzu-Chi University in Hualien City, where he served as its president for nearly eight years, will return to the school and resume teaching.

Twu, who also attended yesterday's ceremony, said that he would do his best to continue where his predecessor left off.

"The first thing I'll have to tackle is the outbreak of dengue fever in Kaohsiung County. I'll go down south again as soon as I get the chance," he said.

Also high on the agenda, Twu said, is the new national health insurance scheme, which will go into effect on his first day as acting director-general.

"We'll do our job in accordance with the timetable set down by my predecessor," Twu said.

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